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Additional Funding For Challenging Health Sector

LowryIndependent TD Michael Lowry has welcomed the recent added financial investment in the Irish health sector, and in particular the €40m announced for home care services. Same investment comes as part of an extra €500 million funding which has been added to our already overall Health Service Budget nationally for 2016, by Minister for Health Mr Simon Harris.

However Lowry warned, “Despite this new welcome allocation, serious challenges still continue to remain within the service, with demands for home help and home care packages continuing to grow.”
In particular Lowry pointed out, “Patients who are medically ready for hospital discharge continue to remain waiting in much needed hospital beds, due to our inability to access and put in place home supports.”

“More access to home supports”, stated Lowry, “could see patients living at home; instead of remaining in long-term residential care, should these appropriate services be made more readily available. This said problems are also arising in the number of older people already in receipt of home care, who have been identified as not receiving the number of help hours needed.

It is readily acknowledged that many more patients could be at home”, continued Lowry, “where they themselves want to be; where their families want them to be; and where Government policy says they should be. However we are simply not providing these necessary homecare supports and this present situation goes completely against Governmental stated objectives of caring for individuals within our communities.

In particular over the past number of years Health Care in its entirety across Tipperary has faced utter devastation through serious financial cuts, e.g. South Tipp General Hospital, Our Lady’s hospital Cashel, Dean Maxwell Roscrea, Mount Sion Tipperary, the effects of which can only be described as terrifying and a gross burden on our most vulnerable. To this end I will now be seeking an assurance from Minister Harris that a fair share of this much needed new funding will be made available to Co. Tipperary.

This new investment in our community care services is indeed a most positive development, however we now need to put in place a system that provides for more appropriate homecare services and packages. This will enable many more of our citizens to return to live in their own homes under a more tailored care plan, which in turn will be one step closer to solving our current hospital overcrowding”, concluded Lowry.


Govt To Freeze Bin Charges


Waste Operators showing Telephone No’s and E-mail Addresses who offer services in Co. Tipperary.

Various reports today claim that new rules, recently introduced by former Tipperary Labour Minister Alan Kelly, on new bin charge legislation are set to be frozen, as the present Government investigate massive price hikes in the industry and as yet unsubstantiated claims of companies operating cartels, (Cartel – An association of  suppliers coming together with their sole purpose to maintain prices at a high level, thus restricting competition).

Claims made today appear to confirm that  the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Mr Simon Coveney is all set to freeze the charges in his bid to give his department yet more time to further examine these earlier allegations.

Mr  Coveney met with Waste Management companies in Athlone on Friday last, to further discuss plans to implement pay by weight charges, which were set to come into effect from July 1st 2016 next.

Meanwhile the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is also set to examine this pricing controversy after numerous consumers complained they had received notifications indicating massive price hikes of between 200% and 300% introduced as a result of these new regulations.

With just 12 days to go; as yet no notifications have been received from some 10 registered waste collection agencies, operating within Thurles and Co. Tipperary, as to any new or future pricing regulations. One suspects that these agencies were hoping that if details were left too late then everybody would simply accept the inevitable and lie down; as is a previous attitude, thankfully changing here in Ireland.

Already we are aware of people using public litter bins in our town’s streets, daily, to dispose of their basic household waste. Soon, if this system is not satisfactorily regulated, forgotten rural areas will experience a new kind of tourism; as visitors arrive to dump waste product in our lanes and hedgerows.

With regard to these newly introduced pay-by-weight bin charges and customers using waste and recycling service; one must ask the following questions?
(1) Do we weigh the waste product ourselves, agreeing scales readings prior to collection?
(2) Do we wait patiently beside our waste bins for our chosen collection service to call, before agreeing and signing for the actual weight being charged?
(3) Do we simply accept the weight recorded by our collection service agency as being gospel truth?
(4) Will invoices detailing actual waste weight be pushed through our letter boxes on each collection date?

Minister Coveney is understood to be meeting with waste companies again early next week and one hopes that the proposed system and the various service agencies will be forced to become more transparent in their dealings.


National Broadband Strategy Needs Urgent Implementation

Mid West

Independent TD Michael Lowry has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Mr Denis Naughten, to urgently advance the Government’s National Broadband Plan for County Tipperary.

Currently there exists over 41,000 properties across Tipperary without broadband and of these over 8,000 are businesses of varying sizes, each attempting to compete in the wider market place. Larger towns like Clonmel, Thurles, Nenagh, Tipperary Town and Templemore are well served by commercial operators; however other smaller towns and villages right across Tipperary require immediate intervention by the government.

Deputy Lowry recently contacted Minister Naughten; highlighting that “a key element for rural development must be to invest in infrastructure in areas outside of our main towns and cities. The absence of high speed broadband is a significant issue in attracting foreign direct or other investment to rural areas, thus obstructing all future job creation in Tipperary”.  Lowry further insisted that “the State now fast-track the necessary capital funding into the Broadband process to expedite the roll-out schedule and guarantee rural broadband to 100% of Tipperary homes and businesses.”

The Independent TD continued, “The Government must review its current time-line on Broadband issues and stop referring to it as anything other than what it actually is, a basic and essential utility. Lack of Broadband is threatening the very growth capacity of entire local economies, particularly in Co. Tipperary. Broadband has become a critical factor to 21st century business life, and rural businesses rightfully feel abandoned and unable to compete, while city based businesses continue to thrive.
This same digital divide now places rural Ireland at a massive disadvantage and is not just failing individuals and businesses in their ability to communicate, but is also affecting students in our educational system to adequately engage in their intellectual pursuits; much of which now depends on having access to basic Internet facilities.
Obviously the lack of basic Broadband accessibility is only one of the many areas that need to be scrutinised in an effort to stop the everyday curse of migration, emigration and unemployment. These factors are draining rural areas of their very livelihood. However, with rural Ireland lacking critical 21st century infrastructure in providing 21st century opportunities, rural dwellers will continue to flee in favour of greater prospects elsewhere.
Business, whatever its size is the very lifeblood of every economy and if entrepreneurship is to be encouraged to set up in rural Ireland, access to Broadband is now essential if we are to work, grow and fairly compete,” concluded Deputy Lowry.


Urgent Constructive Debate On Rural Ireland

Lowry calls on 32nd Dáil to engage in urgent constructive debate on rural Ireland

Independent TD Michael Lowry has called for an immediate, focused and balanced debate by all elected TD’s, with regard to planning a future for rural Ireland. Commenting on recent radical proposals for Ireland’s development by Mr John Moran (Former Secretary-General at the Department of Finance), Deputy Lowry stated that he disagreed with many of the views expressed by Mr Moran, with regard to his future vision for rural Ireland.


Using the comparative example of Ireland versus France; Mr Moran had declared that France was “pulling back services from less efficient parts of their country and encouraging those areas to develop a different business model.”

“How can rural Ireland attract a ‘different business model’, when such areas have been totally stripped of infrastructure and investment, with little attempt at supporting regional development. To advance a ‘different business model’ would entail a modern rural road network as part of other required infrastructure. Mr Moran appears to be unaware that the National Roads Fund decreased from €608 million in 2008 to a current figure of €294 million in 2015. In 2011 Tipperary received €45 million for roads. In 2016 this had fallen to €25 million. Also in 2015 some €439 million was made available to the semi-State utility Irish Water; taken from motor tax payment and local property tax.”

Deputy Lowry continued: “The IDA must immediately begin to invest in advance industrial infrastructure in places like Co. Tipperary; providing ready-to-go turnkey facilities with access to high-speed broadband being a priority. Neglect of infrastructure and investment in turn has had a domino effect in relation to the lack of job opportunities for a highly skilled and well educated workforce. The previous government and national agencies have done little or nothing to correct this current urban / rural imbalance. Young people are being forced to leave their homes, families and communities daily. Emigration has also had a massive impact on close local communities; particularly on sports clubs, who are suffering from decimation by the forced flight of its younger membership.

Back during the emergence of our Irish State; using our then fiscal capabilities, we established one industry after another. Ensuring not to make new developments simply localized affairs; we spread new factories as wide as possible throughout the State. This was done to avoid the problems of the over-centralization of industry; becoming part of a plan to make industry conform to the general well-being of rural areas. Same industries were predominantly placed in agricultural based areas, sharing in an industrial revival, offering work to those who otherwise would have departed via an emigrant ship. During this same period our Irish economy saw the net value of industrial products increased from over €18.25 million to over €28.25 million; while wages paid to production workers increased by €4.25 million and placed eighty thousand additional workers into steady regular employment.

Year after year, small shops, post offices and Garda Stations are shrinking. Fewer homes are being constructed, resulting in no work for builders and associated trades. Fewer children are being born; school numbers and teachers are reduced leading to inevitable school closures. The shortage of priests is leading to parishes becoming clustered with grave implications for church communities.

Urban centres must not forget that our valuable agricultural exports continue to emanate from a currently neglected rural Ireland” concluded Deputy Lowry


Lowry – “Reverse Decision To NOT Fill Thurles Civil Registration Post”

LowryTipperary TD Michael Lowry has called on the HSE to fill the vacant post at the offices of the Civil Registration Service, situated at St. Mary’s Health Centre, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

In a public written statement Deputy Lowry said; “The previous Registrar has recently retired, after a lifetime of dedicated service. The HSE have confirmed that there is no immediate plan to re-appoint a replacement officer to this now vacant position.

The HSE’s Civil Registration Service plays a most important role in our community; being responsible for assisting people to register births, together with marriages, civil partnerships and deaths, etc.

This recent dilemma further highlights the immense challenges currently faced by Irish rural dwellers on a day-to-day bases. In particular, services provided by the HSE, are dying nationally; but not more so than those currently being experienced within the rural constraints of Co. Tipperary. Currently within our Health Service, post after post in our rural areas are falling vacant, with no incentive to attract suitable personnel.

In the past the Thurles Civil Registration Office has provided a professional and quality service to the local community. This same service has been undertaken in conjunction with parts of South Tipperary, Dundrum and Cappawhite, together with Templemore and Borrisoleigh. In the case of individual citizens originating from Tipperary and now residing abroad; they too have greatly benefited from the provision of these services.

I am well aware that there are other Civil Registration Service offices in Nenagh, Roscrea, and Cashel, which open 3 half days only on a weekly basis; while Clonmel offers a morning-only service to the public; caused by a retirement and the death of a staff member. The filling of a full-time replacement position in Thurles is therefore now essential.

I have been in contact with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and have requested that they immediately make a full, focused and determined effort to attract a full-time Registrar, to fill this most essential post” concluded Michael Lowry.